Asked January 17, 2014, 8:40 PM EST
We own land that once had a fully irrigated catfish farm. Any thoughts on raising sturgeon in Eastland, Texas? We know the growth rate....but are looking to make a long-term investment.
Eastland County Texas
While I always try to encourage new aquaculture ventures here in Texas, I cannot advise you to pursue sturgeon aquaculture in Eastland, TX in former catfish ponds. The optimal growth rate for most if the cultured sturgeon species is accomplished at 68-79F. While the lethal thermal maximum is not known for most species, those that we do know are as low as 84. Our sturgeons that are native to the Southeast and gulf of Mexico are as high as 97F in the case of the shortnose sturgeon, but shovelnose sturgeon and the pallid sturgeon die when exposed to 97F. Considering the fact that our catfish ponds, at least in recent years, regularly reach temperatures in excess of 97, I believe that sturgeon would experience extremely poor growth rates and heavy losses during their 6-10 year production cycle. If you are interested in unique species that would more suitable to your situation and environment, feel free to contact me at Todd.Sink@tamu.edu.